Sperm whale dies off Den Helder coast

Sperm whale spotted in the North Sea off the coast of Den Helder, 25 June 2018
Sperm whale spotted in the North Sea off the coast of Den Helder, 25 June 2018. Photo: Stichting SOS Dolfijn / Facebook

The sperm whale, died a natural death in the same area on Tuesday evening, SOS Dolfijn said on Twitter.

By early Tuesday afternoon it became clear that the animal will not be able to leave the North Sea on its own, and it started to die late in the afternoon, Jolanda Meerbeek, head of animal care at SOS Dolfijn, said to NU.nl. "The breathing became superficial and the sperm whale blew out under water. It then tilted a number of times and just after 6:00 p.m. it tilted for the last time, after which the sperm whale remained lifeless in the water."

The whale had been bobbing between Petten and Julianadorp, about 2.5 kilometers off the coast, for hours by that point. SOS Dolfijn tried to keep the area around the whale calm, in the hopes that it could find its way to deeper water, but that did not succeed.

An autopsy will be done on the sperm whale. "Rijkswaterstaat will likely bring the sperm whale to the port of Harlingen, where the autopsy will be carried out", Meerbeek said. 

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